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08KYIV2306, UKRAINE – DISPOSITION OF HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM

November 24, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV2306 2008-11-24 15:29 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #2306/01 3291529
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241529Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6773
RHEBAAA/USDOE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0031

UNCLAS KYIV 002306 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/PRA: AFRIEDT, ISN/NESS: DFENSTERMACHER 
DOE FOR NNSA: ABIENIAWSKI, DHUIZENGA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: AORC ENRG KNNP MNUC PTER TRGY UNVIE
SUBJECT: UKRAINE - DISPOSITION OF HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM 
AT THE KHARKIV INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS AND TECHNOLOGY 
 
 1. (SBU) Summary.  On November 3, 2008, a DOE delegation 
from the National Nuclear Security Administration,s (NNSA) 
Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) met with 
Academician Boris Paton, President of the National Academy of 
Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), to discuss possible USG 
assistance on the disposition of highly enriched uranium 
(HEU) at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology 
(KIPT).  During the meeting, Andrew Bieniawski, Director of 
GTRI, provided an official NNSA letter to Paton proposing up 
to USD 25 million in GTRI funding over four years for 
construction of a neutron source facility using low enriched 
uranium (LEU) at KIPT in exchange for a Government of Ukraine 
commitment to downblend all of the HEU material stored at 
KIPT.  In anticipation of the USG proposal, Paton wrote on 
October 3, 2008 to Prime Minister Tymoshenko seeking Cabinet 
of Ministers support to implement the project for 
construction of the neutron source facility and downblending 
HEU; First Deputy Prime Minister Turchinov has instructed 
relevant Ukrainian agencies to work with NASU to draft a 
resolution for the Cabinet,s consideration.  We will engage 
the Cabinet if a decision is not made shortly.  End Summary. 
 
Took A Long Time for KIPT to be Convinced 
----------------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) For the past six years, GTRI has worked very closely 
with technical experts of KIPT and NASU, senior Government of 
Ukraine officials, Embassy Kyiv, and the Department of State 
to explore options for the disposition of HEU material at 
KIPT.  The issue was raised on repeated occasions by USG 
principals with their Ukrainian counterparts, by the current 
and two previous U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine, by State 
Department officials at bilateral Nonproliferation Working 
Group meetings, and was the subject of numerous GTRI meetings 
with officials from the Ukrainian government, NASU and KIPT. 
Although there is no practical use for HEU material in 
Ukraine, the government of Ukraine views the material as a 
strategic asset not to be removed from its territory. 
Working to find a compromise, GTRI was finally successful in 
convincing KIPT and NASU officials to pursue the design and 
construction of a neutron source facility that would run on 
LEU, downblended on site from KIPT,s HEU stockpile. 
Finally, on May 16, 2008, the Vice President of NASU, KIPT, 
and NNSA concluded a protocol to develop the scientific 
justification for the construction of an LEU-based neutron 
source and to downblend KIPT HEU to LEU. 
 
KIPT Fulfills Commitments 
------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) GTRI,s sincere efforts to accommodate KIPT research 
needs while maintaining the primary USG nonproliferation 
objectives earned them the respect and trust of the KIPT 
technical experts and management.  In its turn, KIPT has 
shown a true spirit of cooperation, completing all its 
deliverables related to the cost estimate and scientific 
substantiation for construction of the LEU neutron source 
facility and downblending of HEU to LEU according to the 
schedule outlined in the May 16, 2008 Protocol.  These 
deliverables formed the basis for NASU to seek Government of 
Ukraine approval for disposition of the HEU and for GTRI to 
offer funding. 
 
Paton Requests Cabinet Approval 
------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) In his October 3, 2008 letter to Prime Minister 
Tymoshenko, Paton expressed his support for the development 
of the neutron source facility at KIPT based on an 
accelerator controlled subcritical assembly. Paton also noted 
that HEU nuclear materials will be used by converting them to 
LEU for use as fuel in this and other research applications. 
In his letter, he explicitly requested that Prime Minister 
Tymoshenko &instruct relevant executive bodies to review the 
design materials and generate proposals for its 
implementation.8  (Comment:  The letter from Paton is a step 
forward as this is the first time that an important and well 
respected figure in Ukraine has recommend disposition of the 
HEU material at KIPT to the government.  Paton plays an 
important role in shaping the energy, science, and research 
policy of Ukraine and his opinions are sought on such issues. 
 End Comment.) 
 
 
 
Cabinet of Ministers Issues Instructions 
---------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (SBU) The NASU projects such as HEU downblending 
requiring Government of Ukraine authorizations are under the 
authority of the Department for Humanitarian Policy of the 
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine that reports to First Deputy 
Prime Minister Oleksander Turchinov.  In his letter 
#49215/1/1-08 dated O
ctober 14, 2008, Turchinov issued 
instructions to Minister of Fuel and Energy Prodan, Minister 
of Science and Education Vakarchuk, and State Nuclear 
Regulatory Committee Head Mykolaychuk to work with NASU and 
other relevant organizations to develop a resolution for the 
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in response to the October 3, 
2008 Paton letter. 
 
GTRI Provides Official Offer 
---------------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU)  During a meeting at KIPT on November 3, Bieniawski 
provided Paton with an official offer letter that confirmed 
GTRI,s willingness to fund up to USD 25 million over a four 
year period for construction of an LEU neutron source 
facility at KIPT in exchange for downblending of all the HEU 
stored there.  The letter also noted that U.S. and Ukrainian 
technical experts will jointly develop a coordinated, 
integrated schedule so as to complete construction of the LEU 
neutron source facility and downblending of all fresh HEU 
stored at KIPT within four years. 
 
Paton Receives GTRI offer 
------------------------- 
 
7.  (SBU)  Paton welcomed the GTRI offer and noted that it 
would help Ukraine establish the state-of-the-art research 
infrastructure at KIPT that would support development of the 
nuclear power industry, medical isotope production, and 
provide capabilities for fundamental and applied research. 
This facility would also serve as a &Center of Excellence8 
for expanding international cooperation.  Bieniawski stressed 
the importance for Paton and NASU Director General Nekhludov 
to obtain final approval from the Government of Ukraine so 
that construction of the neutron source facility and 
downblending of HEU at KIPT could begin as soon as possible. 
 
GTRI Offer Transmitted to the Cabinet 
------------------------------------- 
 
8.  (SBU) Responding to Turchinov,s October 14, 2008 
instructions, representatives from the Ministry of Science 
and Education asked NASU about the status of construction of 
the neutron source facility and downblending of the HEU at 
KIPT.  Subsequently, Nekhludov requested that the GTRI letter 
be officially forwarded to the Cabinet of Ministers.  On 
November 10, 2008, the GTRI offer was transmitted to PM 
Tymoshenko under a cover letter from the Ambassador.  The 
Ambassador,s letter highlighted the benefits of constructing 
the neutron source facility using downblended HEU and 
requested an expedited and timely authorization to proceed 
with the project. 
 
Kyiv Institute of Nuclear Research Intends to Repatriate its 
HEU to Russia 
-------------------- 
 
9.  (SBU)  In separate meetings during the November visit, 
Director of the Kyiv Institute of Nuclear Research Dr. Ivan 
Vishnevsky reiterated the Institute,s intention to seek 
repatriation of its HEU to Russia rather than downblending at 
Kharkhiv.  Vishnevsky indicated that he may have GoU approval 
by the end of 2008, which would allow repatriation to Russia 
in the near term. 
 
Need Continued Support To Succeed 
--------------------------------- 
 
10.  (SBU) Comment.  Both Paton and Nekhludov appeared 
genuinely enthusiastic about moving forward with the project 
as a means of revitalizing KIPT.  However, final approval 
from the Government of Ukraine is the next key step and this 
 
may prove to be difficult and elusive.  We will engage the 
Prime Minister,s office if a response is not forthcoming 
shortly. 
 
11.  (U) This cable was cleared by Andrew Bieniawski. 
 
 
TAYLOR

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